Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2017
Ready your camera gear and dust off your picnic mat for the most spectacular floral extravaganza in the whole of Thailand is about to burst into full bloom. This weekend, for three days only, marks the 41st annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival and, as always, it promises to be a simply unmissable feast for all the senses! Second only to Loy Krathong/Yee Peng and the Thai New Year (Songkran) in terms of scale and coverage but no less magical, at no other time of year is the label ‘Rose of the North’ a more fitting tribute to Chiang Mai’s bounty of natural splendour.
Sounds amazing! When is it?
To enjoy this year’s Flower Festival, be sure to mark your calendar from 9AM on Friday 3rd February to midnight on Sunday 5th February.
How much is it?
The event itself is completely free!
Where is it held?
In the days leading up to the Flower Festival, much of the Old City of Chiang Mai explodes into a riot of every colour and hue imaginable accompanied by the sweet fragrance of blossom that fills the air! The main centres of attraction for the occasion, though, are the pedestrianised plaza in front of Tha Phae Gate and the lake-filled Nong Buak Haad public park, in fact the only one of its kind within the Old City.
What is there to see and do?
In preparation for the Flower Festival, both Tha Phae Gate and Nong Buak Haad park are lovingly transformed into a vibrant open-air botanic garden showcasing an almost mind-boggling diversity and arrangement of exotic plants and flowers; not least Chiang Mai’s own native variety of Damask rose, white and yellow chrysanthemums as well as a myriad species of tropical orchid with specimens available to buy and competition pieces purely for display purposes. Besides professional landscape architects and horticultural specialists on hand to offer their wares, services and expertise, this year both venues will also play host to a special all-day Grand Flora Exhibition in celebration of the 720th anniversary of Chiang Mai’s founding. From 5PM every evening, an orchestral composition of royal songs will be performed to be followed by a dazzling light and sound show. And with Chiang Mai being the culinary capital of the country, gastronomic offerings at the Flower Festival will naturally be no less impressive featuring a food fair along with dozens of on-site stalls supplying a dizzying assortment of regional fare and national dishes.
Officially, the opening ceremony is scheduled to take centre stage at 5PM on Friday 3rd February in Nong Buak Haad park.
For many, though, the highlight of the event is the procession of up to 40 exquisitely decorated and visually resplendent flower-adorned floats intermingled with jubilant marching bands, brightly costumed hilltribe folk, graceful Thai dancers in traditional dress and classic vintage cars. The parade leaves Nawarat Bridge at 8AM on Saturday 4th February and, stopping regularly to give onlookers plenty of opportunities to take photographs, travels leisurely up Tha Phae Road to its namesake walled Gate before making its way in a clockwise direction around the inner and outer moat roads to Nong Buak Haad park on the corner of Bumrung Buri and Arak Roads. The more enthusiastic of visitors are, of course, welcome to follow the parade on foot the full distance of roughly 3.5km! From 8PM on Saturday 4th February in Nong Buak Haad park is the Miss Flora beauty pageant during which one of the pretty young Thai maidens –seen earlier riding the floats- will be crowned queen of the 2017 Chiang Mai Flower Festival.
What are your fondest memories from past Chiang Mai Flower Festivals? What are you looking forward to the most during this year’s event? We’re eager to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave us a comment below!
Perhaps not surprisingly, early February is an especially popular time of year to see Chiang Mai so if you’d like to be part of this year’s Flower Festival, hurry to book your Stay in Chiang Mai Holiday Rental!
Why not combine your visit to the 2017 Chiang Mai Flower Festival with a spot of retail therapy at either (or both!) of the Saturday and Sunday Walking Street Markets or Night Bazaar.